Work Plan

Thirteen Regular Session of CICTE

The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States (OAS) held its Thirteenth Regular Session this month highlighting the importance of strengthening hemispheric cooperation in combating terrorism and its financing.

The 34 OAS member countries adopted a Declaration on "Strengthening of Hemispheric Cooperation to Address Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering," establishing their “commitment to continue to adopt measures, to strengthen international cooperation mechanisms, especially at the hemispheric level, including the application of extradition and mutual legal assistance, as well as the exchange of information, including financial information, in accordance with domestic law, in order to avoid impunity, find, deny safe haven to, and bring to justice or extradite any person who supports, facilitates, participates, or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation, or commission of terrorist acts.”

In the opening ceremony on March 8, 2013, the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, underscored the "hemispheric commitment to forge our collective security by strengthening cooperation to prevent, combat, and eradicate acts of terrorism and thereby generate ample opportunities in our region for prosperous and peaceful coexistence.”

Ramdin stressed that the fight against the financing of terrorism and money laundering are fundamental issues as "attacking them involves going against the roots of the organization, planning, support for, and perpetration of terrorist acts,” and because the funding of these criminal activities can be linked to other crimes “that may go from destabilizing the economic and financial system to destabilizing an entire country's or region's institutions, thereby undermining the values underpinning the democratic and peaceful coexistence of the peoples of the Americas.”

“The importance attached to preventing the financing of terrorist acts stems from a crime prevention rationale, and the destabilizing effect that may be wrought by potential connections between different categories of crime,“ said the senior OAS official, who specifically highlighted drug and arms trafficking and corruption.

Mentioning other challenges in combating the financing of terrorism, Ambassador Ramdin referred to globalization and information technology. “In our societies today, constantly shifting payment and financial transfer methods, combined with ever new technologies, make it difficult to track flows of money that might be used for criminal purposes without appropriate international cooperation,” he said.

The declaration urges the OAS Member States that have not yet done so “to sign, ratify, or accede to, as the case may be, and to implement in an effective way, the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, as well as the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council related to combating terrorism and its financing.

The government representatives also reaffirmed their commitment to "prevent the movement of terrorists, terrorist groups or whosoever finances terrorism by effective border controls and controls on the issuance of identity papers and travel documents, and through measures for preventing the counterfeiting, forgery, and/or fraudulent use of identity papers and travel documents."

In addition, Member States adopted the CICTE Work Plan for 2013, which includes the program of activities for the following areas: 1) Border Controls: Maritime Safety; Aviation Security; Security of Documents and Prevention of Fraud; Immigration and Customs; and Assistance for the implementation of Resolution 1540 of the UN Security Council. 2) Legislative Assistance and Combating Terrorism Financing: Legislative Assistance; and Combating Terrorism Financing. 3) Protection of Critical Infrastructure: Cyber-security; Tourism Security; Critical Infrastructure Protection; and Global Supply Chain Security. 4) Strengthening Strategies on Emerging Terrorist Threats: Crisis Management; and Workshops. 5) International Coordination and Cooperation: Partnerships.

At the annual meeting, CICTE elected its new authorities. Colombia, who was represented by its Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Andrés González Díaz, was elected as Chair, taking over from Ambassador José Rodrigo Vielmann of Guatemala. The Vice Chair, meanwhile, was assumed by Canada in the figure of its Permanent Representative, Allan Culham, who succeeded Colombia in the position.

The outgoing Chair, Ambassador José Rodrigo Vielmann Leon of Guatemala, presented a summary of the activities undertaken during the last year, which were focused on strengthening cyber security. "Telecommunications should be a support tool in the fight against terrorism," he said, recalling that it is necessary to use the resources that they provide for a safer world. "It is necessary to join efforts and understand that international terrorism has no borders, and as such our approach to combat this scourge must not have them either.”

The meeting was also attended by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, and Vice Chair of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee, Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, who advocated for broadening cooperation not only regionally, but also at the international level in counter-terrorism efforts. In this regard he expressed the will of the United Nations Committee to work with and provide technical assistance to regional and international organizations. "My presence here is a sign of this commitment," he said.

Ambassador Gasana also reiterated the need to maintain the respect for human rights in the implementation of anti-terrorism measures, the need to address terrorist campaigns, to support the victims and vulnerable populations and to address the social implications of this scourge, "which has high implications on the social fabric of a country."

In analyzing the situation in the hemisphere, the Representative of Rwanda to the UN said that "the region of the Americas has a difficult history, and some states continue to experience problems with terrorism and other violent crimes. However, we have seen that many states have made progress on issues such as the ratification of anti-terrorism international instruments, the adoption of new legislation in this area and regulation in the financial system to control terrorism." Ambassador Gasana closed by reiterating the interest of the United Nations Committee in cooperating with CICTE and "to continue to work together in sharing information, best practices and technical assistance, as it is the most important Inter-American organization in this area."

Finally, Member States approved the convocation of the Fourteenth Regular Session of CICTE to be held on February 19, 20, and 21, 2014 at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.


List of Participants

For more information, please contact Javier Montes